26.07.2004 Regional News

Universities advised to embark on HIV/AIDS intervention programmes

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Kumasi, July 26, GNA - Universities in the country, have been advised to introduce appropriate HIV/AIDS intervention programmes to help check the spread of the HIV/AIDS menace.

Professor S. A. Sakyi Amoa, Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), said students of universities and tertiary institutions, like other youth, were vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and should be given more insight into the menace early.

Prof Sakyi Amoa opening of an HIV/AIDS/STIs, Basic Information and Counselling workshop for trainers of trainees at the Diamond Hotel in Kumasi, on Monday, said even though the problem of HIV was quite serious amongst students, "yet the high level of denial and low perception of their personal risk makes most of them assume they are not at risk". The workshop was organised by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), with sponsorship from the GAC, for some staff of the university.

It was designed to train and equip them with the requisite knowledge about AIDS, to enable them educate and counsel students and staff.

He observed that even though Ghana appeared to have the requisite quantity of human resource for development process, the quality left much to be desired.

Professor Sakyi Amoa attributed the poor quality of human resource to "certain negative factors, including the current literacy levels, life-styles and the general health of the people".

He said, what was even more worrying and having a negative impact on the quality of the country 's human resource, was the increasing number of Sexually Transmitted Infections "among our students, which was known to facilitate acquisition and transmission of HIV".

Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, entreated universities to be zealous about AIDS programmes and not to concentrate their messages solely on abstinence and faithfulness, since that alone would not work in an environment like the universities, unless they also urge those who cannot abstain to use condoms.

Professor Emmanuel Frempong, Dean of Students, disclosed that the KNUST planned to train 300 staff as counsellors under its HIV/AIDS intervention programme for a three-year period.

He said the KNUST was determined to use the intervention programme as a base for reducing HIV/AIDS infection on the campus and the surrounding communities.

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